Published: Fri, November 25, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Vladimir Putin praises French presidential contender Francois Fillon

"The UEJF wonders what period Francois Fillon is referring to when he says Jews refused to abide by the rules of the French republic, if it's not at the time of Vichy [the wartime government that collaborated with Nazi Germany] when Jews were forced to hide and wear a yellow star", Ghozlan said in a statement.

French former prime minister Francois Fillon is set to win the conservative nomination for next year's presidential election by a wide margin, an Ifop-Fiducial poll forecast ahead of a primaries' run-off vote on Sunday.

Fillon would win the conservative nomination for 2017 presidential election with 65 percent of votes versus 35 percent for his rival Alain Juppe, a moderate politician who has always been the poll's favorite, according to the survey.

"We must fight that fundamentalism, in the same way that in the past that we fought some forms of Catholic fundamentalism and we fought the drive by Jews to live in a community that did not respect all the rules of the French Republic", Fillon had said.

Juppe, a centrist 71-year-old who wants a "happy identity" for demoralised France, is banking on a strong showing in Thursday night's debate when he hopes to highlight his differences with Fillon.

A devout Catholic, Fillon is also more socially conservative, saying he would roll back some abortion rights for gay couples enshrined in a 2013 gay marriage act.

Fillon wrote in his book "Beating Islamic Totalitarianism" that "the bloody invasion of Islamism in our daily lives could herald a third world war".

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin enjoys good relations with Francois Fillon, the surprise victor of the first round of France´s rightwing presidential primary.

The two candidates also competed to show their closeness to the teachings of Pope Francis - a rare break with protocol in firmly secular France. The first round of the general election is scheduled for April, 2017.

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